Jamaica Moves to Eliminate Trans Fats from Local Food Products

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica has begun work towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids from its local food supply as part of efforts by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to reduce risk factors for non-communicable diseases which remain prevalent across the island.

JAMCKEfatChief Medical Officer Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie (JIS Photo)“Work is being done to increase the capacity of government labs to assess products. Two major labs have been provided with equipment to test for Industrially Produced Trans-fatty Acids (IP-TFA) and the relevant staff members have been trained to analyze products in accordance with established guidelines,” said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie.

Trans-fats are a leading cause of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers, and stroke.

Noting that significant work is ahead before the country ratifies the Plan of Action for the elimination of Industrially Produced Trans-fatty Acids, Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie highlighted that plans are in train for the development of regulatory policy.

This includes pre-regulatory assessment in the form of a national study assessing foods that are sources of IP-TFA, the findings of which have been shared with key stakeholders including the general public, the food industry, media entities, academia, government bodies, policymakers, and advocacy groups.

“A consultation was conducted on June 14th, 2022, with key stakeholders, including representatives from the food industry, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Small Business Association, academia, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness to discuss the assessment of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids in Jamaica, share best practices and discuss policy options for the elimination of IP-TFA for Jamaica,” the CMO added.

The national assessment also details the amount of industrially produced trans fats contained in foods commonly consumed by Jamaicans.